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Up to four dead in DR Congo rebel attack: sources


democratic republic of congo mapA weekend attack blamed on Ugandan rebels in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo left up to four dead including a civilian, sources said Monday.

The rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) allegedly attacked the city of Oicha north of Beni in North Kivu province bordering Uganda late Sunday afternoon, a local official said, requesting anonymity.

Speaking by telephone from the North Kivu capital Goma, he said DR Congo troops took three hours to repel the rebels in a battle that left three soldiers and a civilian dead, and that six houses were torched.

He said another three civilians were seriously wounded in the attack by the rebels, who have been active in the forested region since being driven out of their homeland in 1995.

A local civil society leader, Teddy Kataliko, confirmed that one civilian was killed and “several houses were burned.”

Regional army spokesman Mak Hazukay meanwhile confirmed the attack but said he could not provide casualty figures.

The ADF is accused of a series of attacks or massacres that have claimed more than 500 civilian lives since October 2014.

The mainly Muslim group, which first emerged in Uganda with the aim of toppling President Yoweri Museveni and setting up a hardline Islamist state, is accused of serious human rights violations.

An attack on November 29 on the city of Eringeti, around 40 kilometres (25 miles) from Beni, left at least 24 people dead, including seven hospital patients who were hacked to death with machetes as well as a member of the UN peacekeeping force MONUSCO.

The bloodshed led MONUSCO and the DR Congo army to launch a counter-offensive against the ADF.

The 20,000-strong MONUSCO — the UN Stabilisation Mission in the Congo — is overseeing a disarmament, demobilisation, repatriation and reintegration programme in the east of the vast former Belgian colony.

Rich in mineral resources, the region has been wracked by more than two decades of unrest involving an array of armed groups embroiled in ethnic or economic disputes and rivalries between regional powers.

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